Home Mental Health & Well-Being MMI to Focus on Moral Injury, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder at BSAVA Congress 2024

MMI to Focus on Moral Injury, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder at BSAVA Congress 2024

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The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Mind Matters Initiative will be bringing important conversations around moral stress, moral injury and psychological safety, as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) Congress 2024, taking place from 21–23 March 2024, at the Manchester Central Convention Complex.

The first Mind Matters stream, taking place on Thursday 21 March, from 10:30am–5pm, is being held as part of the Wellbeing Programme and will be centred around moral stress, moral injury, and psychological safety. The stream includes a mix of sessions, such as an introductive talk on the concepts of moral stress and injury, an introduction to veterinary mental health charity Vetlife, and a panel discussion exploring the role of ethical conversations in supporting yourself and your colleagues to navigate challenging events and experiences.

The second stream will take place on Friday 22 March from 09:10am–5:40pm and will be centred around obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this time as part of the BSAVA Scientific Programme. In this stream, delegates will explore the science behind OCD and PTSD and their impacts. As well as specific informative talks, this stream also includes two panel discussions centred around lived experience and workplace support for both OCD and PTSD.

In addition to the RCVS’ two Mind Matters streams, the RCVS will also be hosting three other sessions. One as part of the Primary Care Nursing stream, entitled The past, present and future of RVNs, which will take place in the Exchange Auditorium on Saturday 23 March. The other two will be held as part of the exhibitor-led CPD stream. The first of these sessions, entitled An introduction to the 2024 extra-mural studies (EMS) policy and RCVS national EMS booking database, will be held on Thursday 21 March, and the second, Enhancing the clinical career pathways for the veterinary profession, on Saturday 23 March. Both of these sessions will be held in the Exhibition Theatre.

Speaking about the Mind Matters streams, new MMI Lead, Rapinder Newton, said: “When it comes to MMI, it is important that our work centres around the science, and that we are able to provide evidence-based information that will help to have a positive impact on the mental wellbeing of the professions.

“For BSAVA Congress, we have chosen two very specific themes for each of our streams, which both link into our new strategy, which was published towards the end of last year.

“Firstly, we know there is a problem within the professions when it comes to moral stress and injury, as shown by one of the research projects funded by our Sarah Brown Mental Health research grant back in 2020. There are also a lot of conversations in general surrounding this topic at the moment, for example, with the ban on XL bullies and the potential impacts that this could be having on the profession.

“Secondly, again, as part of our strategy, we are aiming to go beyond simply addressing wellbeing and delve deeper into the impacts of mental illness on those working in the veterinary professions. We are aiming to raise awareness of mental health conditions by providing expert evidence-based information in order to remove the stigma that is still, sadly, often attached to them.

“By delving into the science behind OCD and PTSD and bringing in clinical experts to talk about these topics, as well as integrating the stories of those with lived experience, we hope to challenge people’s potential misconceptions and widen the conversations around mental health, ultimately improving the experiences of those experiencing these conditions and helping strengthen the workforce as a whole.”

The Mind Matters five-year strategy can be accessed on the Mind Matters resource page. For more on the findings of the Sarah Brown Research Project into moral injury within the veterinary professions, a summary of the talk given by researcher Dr Victoria Williamson can be found in the write up of our Mind Matters Mental Health Research Symposium 2023 on the Mind Matters Resource page, as well as a video of the talk.

If you are currently experiencing mental health challenges, there are many sources of support that you can reach out to: Vetlife is there for you 24/7 and can be reached at 0303 040 2551. Samaritans also provide 24/7 support and can be reached at 116 123 or by emailing jo@samaritans.org. You can also contact your local GP or call NHS 111. If you are in crisis, call 999 or visit your local A&E department.

For more information on the RCVS’s activities at BSAVA, including a full breakdown of RCVS session times and locations, please visit the RCVS BSAVA Congress page.

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